Adolescent Problem Behavior and Depressed Mood: Risk and Protection Within and Across Social Contexts
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This study examined risk and protection for adolescent problem behavior and depressive symptomatology in an average-risk sample of 11th graders. Using a socioecological perspective, we aggregated risk factors for adolescent problem behavior and depressed mood by 3 social contexts: i.e., family and peer contexts, and a context comprising the most important nonparental adult (“VIP”) in respondents' lives. Protective factors associated with these 3 contexts were also included in the analyses. We tested separate models (including outcome-specific risk and protective factors) for predicting problem behaviors and depressive symptoms; the models demonstrated divergent validity. Risk and protective factors accounted for 49% of the variance in problem behavior and 49% in depressive symptoms. Tests of interactions between risk-aggregates and protective factors yielded several significant cross-context buffering effects in the problem behavior model, but none in the depressive symptoms model. Parents' and VIP's perceived sanctions buffered adolescents against high risk for problem behavior emanating from the peer context. Additionally, perceived peers' sanctions buffered youths against risk emanating from each of the 3 contexts.
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